Rush Hour Shootout Between Police and 2 Men Who Stole UPS Truck Leaves Multiple Dead in Florida
An armed robbery at a Florida jewelry store escalated into an intense rush-hour car chase involving a hijacked UPS truck, with its driver taken hostage.
Four people — including the two burglars, their hostage and a bystander — were killed in the dramatic incident.
The terrifying ordeal began when two armed men robbed Regent Jewelers in Coral Gables, Florida shortly after 4 p.m. on Thursday, local police told CNN.
When the burglars fled the scene, they used a nearby UPS truck as their getaway vehicle, taking the UPS driver hostage along with the truck.
At least one woman in the jewelry store was injured during the robbery, and at least one bullet made its way across the street through a window of the Coral Gables City Hall, The Miami Herald reported.
What followed was a wild chase, with the suspects in the UPS truck leading police onto the Florida Turnpike as it wove wildly through rush-hour traffic — all while reportedly shooting at police from the vehicle. It eventually exited to then make its way through the suburban streets.
Footage of the chase reveals several police cars in pursuit of the truck.
Eventually, the truck was forced to stop at an intersection because of the heavy, gridlocked traffic around 5:30 p.m. in Miramar, about 24 miles north of Coral Gables.
It is currently unclear whether the burglars or police fired the first shots in the shootout that then broke out. Both suspects, the UPS hostage and a bystander who was sitting in a nearby idle car were killed in the crossfire.
CBS Miami reported at least 20 officers on the scene.
At least one person was airlifted from the scene to a trauma center, the Herald reported. It’s unclear if there are others who sustained injuries at this time.
Police said that no officers were hurt in the shootout.
“It is very, very early on in the investigation and it would be completely inappropriate to discuss that,” FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro said in reference to whether or not the innocent people killed had been struck by bullets from police or the suspects, USA Today reported.
“We have just began to process the crime scene. As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene,” he added.
UPS did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but told the Herald, “We are trying to learn about the status of our personnel and are concerned about their safety. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with them to bring the individuals to justice who put our people in harm’s way.”
The company said in another statement to CBS Miami that their driver was a victim of “senseless” violence.
“We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence,” the second UPS statement said. “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation.”
Both the Coral Gables police and the Miramar police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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